Earlier this month, the US Postal Service reported a $1.9 billion decline in profit for the first half of the 2010 fiscal year. Looking at mail volumes, total mail pieces have been declining annually — a net loss of 35 BILLION pieces of mail in 2009 compared to 2007. Clearly the recession and continued e-mail growth is hurting the USPS.
But, that’s not the whole picture.
Direct mail can still be an extremely effective part of your marketing strategy. Successful marketers constantly bring up the term “relevance”. The most successful direct mail campaigns (some are achieving response rates of 10% and more) are highly targeted and highly personalized – directed towards specific recipients and what you know about them.
Furthermore, direct mail is just one piece of cross-channel marketing options. Not all people respond to communications in the same way. Some are much more likely to respond to e-mail, others only reply to direct mail. Utilize both electronic and traditional channels in all of your campaigns rather than relying on only one or the other.
And, don’t forget that different channels complement each other. For example, direct mail is terrific at driving people to your web site to subscribe to your e-mail list. Follow up an e-mail campaign by sending direct mail to the people who do not respond.
The decline in the number of pieces mailed does not constitute a decline in the results you can achieve with direct mail. Instead, it is a testament to utilizing technology and imagination to improve one-to-one marketing and cross-channel marketing efforts.